This Time Next Year on Three

Three will try to thwart TVNZ 2’s Wednesday night dominance with a new six-part reality series from March 15 that could be just the kick-start you need to enact those New Year resolutions.

Radio Times described This Time Next Year, in which ordinary people transform their lives in extraordinary ways over 12 months, as “the time-bending reality TV show you didn’t know you needed …

“ITV has a bizarre new series that provides the resolute kick up the arse people need to actually make those dreams a reality, interviewing them about a change they want to make before revisiting them a year later to see if they actually pulled it off.

“As motivators to stick to your diet go, being embarrassed on national TV is definitely up there.”

Critics weren’t impressed. “Forget next year, I hope this show doesn’t come back next week,” quipped the Daily Express while The Times said host Davina McCall “so over-egged it that she could have been making omelettes”.

But the “time travel” format was such a hit in the UK that ITV has ordered two more series and two factual spin-offs while other broadcasters are flat out making their own versions.

“We’ve been told it’s the fastest-selling new format in the world this year,” Twofour Group chief executive Melanie Leach told Broadcast magazine.

The studio-based show features people who want to dramatically change their lives, such as being able to walk again or to speak without a stammer.

Once they’ve explained their goals to McCall, they leave the studio through a door marked “This Time” and re-emerge “immediately” through a door marked “Next Year” — even though 12 months have passed in the interim — to reveal whether they succeeded.

Leach told Broadcast the idea originated from reading a “trashy” magazine article about a woman who lost weight.

“Twofour was able to convince global broadcasters to buy the show despite not having a sizzle tape, pilot or domestic ratings,” the magazine says.

According to Leach: “It’s one of those rare shows that you can’t pilot and if you want to wait for ratings to track, you’re in for a long wait because then you’re a whole year off your own version.

“It’s such a simple concept, which made it easier for international broadcasters to take the leap and go straight into production.”

MediaWorks won’t be making its own version but if the show’s a hit opposite TVNZ 2’s top-rating sitcoms, The Big Bang Theory and Mom, which it will overlap, you can bet that Three will have snapped up imitators from other territories by this time next year.

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